Affiliate with No Party: A National Initiative

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the core instincts of both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements are closer than each realizes

Our historically strong economy has masked a lot of national fault lines and we are seeing the consequences now of having been blinded by our once dominance in the World economy.  There is little doubt in my mind that we evolved into a “big is best” society and this unfortunate mis-step is haunting us now.

Big corporations, big banks, big-box stores, big insurance companies, big media, big government, big military, big cities, and so on.

Feeding the Lions, so to speak, society collectively and happily turned away from self-governance and allowed a “new royalty” to emerge.  We replaced Kings & Lords with greedy politicians and their equally greedy mega-corporate sponsors.  No, I’m not professing an anti-local business sentiment.  I’m begrudging an impossible to regulate mega-corporate, mega-financial sentiment.

As I’m reading a bit more history these days, I’m discovering many of the more astute founding fathers warned us about these dangers.

Grass-roots Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street members feel it, although they haven’t yet figured out that they’re in the same boat.  Mostly blind rage right now, I believe.  And, the Institutionalist’s have wasted no time taking advantage of this blind rage, they’re infiltrating these movements and blunting their real genius. 

The genius of both movements is that in their hearts they instinctively know the citizens need to create a new declaration of independence, not to create a new country, but to reassert the citizens’ direct control over their government.  Call it a Declaration of Self Governance!  For me the inspiration for this new declaration of independence comes interestingly enough from America’s original struggle to break free of the King of England.

Where we once were servants to a master-King, we now owe our very souls to big banks, big government, big insurance companies, etc. 

I’m convinced that both Democratic and Republican Party leadership are fronting organized efforts to distract us from our duty to self and duty to neighbor.  We simply must squash the big bugs and take our lives back.  To start this evolution to sane social policy we need to enforce an  Affiliated with No Party requirement.  In order to get our vote all political types must disavow Party.  I’m saying we need a Constitutional Amendment outlawing any such affiliation or organization of Congress and the Executive.

 

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Credits:   In the give and take of conversation with friends these thoughts found their way to the keyboard.  Thank you Lona Tucker, Tim Ingle, Lynn Smith Loy and Lisa Williams.  To date this is the most succinct and comfortable presentation I have scribbled.  I’m reposting it here with the hope a wider audience will help bring even more clarity; that is, a challenge to develop and refine these thoughts.  I can think of no other more important community-at-large project right now than to fix our governance so that we can then properly focus our efforts on the employment, housing, feeding, education and health care of each and every one of our fantastic neighbors.

 

Citizen’s Blueprint for America

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really off the cuff stuff, but hey someone needs to push the envelope

There is little doubt our economy is tanking and businesses are closing right and left.  A major stimulus is needed to push it into recovery.  Hold on to your britches.  I didn’t say government stimulus, I said stimulus.  This isn’t our first time in the barrel as a country.  We actually know how to do this. 

Historically, post-WWII euphoria and its associated housing and industrial boom provided a common form of stimulus.   Sure, we had a natural edge in the world in those days.  Absent robust French, German, Japanese, Chinese or Russian economies to compete with, there was a huge world demand for even our smallest concentrations of products.

When things slowed about a decade ago, the WWW sector gave us a brief shot in the arm.  Truth to power, it was the WWW-bubble that was largely responsible for the economic boom of the Clinton years.  And no, I’m not forgetting the joint efforts of Clinton and Gingrich to control increases in spending.

The next slow down brought another shot in the arm.  It was the modern-day “housing boom“.  Unfortunately, this boom proved to be more like a heroin epidemic than a real concentration of product with world-wide demand.  Most of the thanks goes to Congress and the Executive. These knuckleheads pumped a lot of cheap money into a product that was doomed to collapse as it was based on a false economy and encouraged by relaxed rules of qualification and oversight.  Housing is not a world-centric product and while government inflated it, it failed to assure our businesses would continue to compete on the world market using American labor, rather than selling or moving the entire American engine to foreign countries. 

If our Nation was healthy today, it would have new world-centric products being produced by American labor.  Where we sit today, there is no such concentration of products in the hopper, let alone ready for production.

WHAT IS CONGRESS AND THE EXECUTIVE DOING?

They borrow money from China, a fictitious Social Security Trust Fund, and so on.  Fail that, they simply print money which is not backed by real assets, but rather is backed solely on our credibility as a nation and the small fact that our currency, the dollar, was a large chunk of the world economy.   I’m sure they’re hoping the World doesn’t figure out we’re now simply a “paper tiger.” 

In any case, the money we printed got sucked into a very dry and I think greedy financial/banking market and little to none of it worked its way into the real economy.  It is beyond reasonable explanation why key players in Congress felt that getting dollars directly into people’s hands wasn’t at least as important as giving it to amorphous mega-corporations.  Oh, I know the payroll tax credit.  Now that really helped the people’s who weren’t working.  Not … ! 

I’m certain that had we put 16 million dollars directly into home owners’ hands, like directly on their mortgages rather than into mega-banks, we would be climbing out of this mess by now. 

Incidentally, I don’t think the honorary inventor of trickle down economics, Ronald Reagan, would have been as quick to dump money into institutions that immediately hoard it.  I bet he would be kicking some mega-bank butt right about now.  I can almost hear him saying, it isn’t trickle down economics if the guy on top is burning it to stay warm at a private party in China.

WHAT WOULD I DO?

  1. We need world-centric products designed and manufactured here in America. 
  2. We need a government that commissions its best scientists to provide eco-sustainable mechanisms that further this production. 
  3. We need to immediately relieve our citizens of the breath-taking burden of home mortgages that are dramatically inflated due to government mismanagement of the housing and financial markets.
  4. We need to outlaw Wall Street gambling and profiteering.
  5. The only bank or financial institution allowed to make money on money is the US Treasury.

As regards Item # 4, investors shall only profit from real sales revenue, not stock or commodity speculation.  In short, dividends based on profits are the only source of Wall Street income. 

 

President Obama’s New Contract with America

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… politicians seem biologically incapable of simple, practical proposals

I offer the following policy notice to President Obama.  I’d be honored if he took it and ran with it.

Proposed Public Policy Notice:

Pres. Obama, using executive powers, today ordered the IRS to add a voluntary contribution line to all Tax Filing Documents.  Funds collected through this program will be placed into a secured public trust managed by the US Treasury with instructions to use said funds:

  1. To pay down the national debt; and thereafter,
  2. To fund the equal buy down of all home mortgages in an amount not to exceed $100,000 over the life of each person as filed, with those individuals making more than $250,000 a year and couples filing jointly making more than $500,000 a year ineligible for the buy down program; and thereafter,
  3. To fund an equal portion of each citizen child’s education through 2 years post-high school.

This contribution will be a voluntary after-tax contribution until such a time the Congress sees fit to pass legislation making it a pre-tax deduction and thus providing an additional incentive for citizens to put their money where their mouth is.

President Obama credits [any millionaire] who professes to care about the poor and/or middle class for this program and has in hand [said person’s] contractual agreement to contribute no less than 10% of every dollar he/she makes over and above $250,000 a year.

President Obama joins [said millionaire] in signing an identically similar Contract with America and challenges each and every American, particularly those with a net worth over 1 million dollars, to participate in this moment of truth.

 

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Note to Self: Stop drinking so much coffee before bed time because workable ideas are coming out as rants and I’m likely to lose favor with an audience that otherwise might appreciate the workability of these midnight inspirations.

Step it up, be an American Hero

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… if you aren’t willing to sacrifice your life or the life of your kids than it’s not a war we belong in

I’ve heard it said that the chance of an American being killed by a terrorist on our soil, or in one of our air carriers, is something like 1 in 3 million.  How much spending is too much spending in order to maintain these odds or for that matter decrease these even more?  Why is it the duty of any American soldier to fight in foreign lands while our personal, daily concerns are essentially about coffee, tea and martinis?

Surely, even as opposed to wars of choice as I am, I understand that a World can and must go to war to protect the wholesale slaughter of Innocents, with emphasis on World.  Protecting a plane, bus, train and so on from the insanity of individual terrorists does not rise to this standard or cause.  Look to World War I and World War II where this Nation carefully and deliberately enjoined a world at war.  Look at the collective sacrifice we made as a Nation during these wars.  We make no such personal sacrifice today and have no such world-centric mission.

Bring the men and women of our forces home from all foreign soil and tell the President and Congress that you’re willing to fly without overly cumbersome checkpoint procedures.  Otherwise, the next time you’re waiting to be scanned at the airport don’t blame the government for your inconvenience, look to yourself.  By your silence on these matters, you asked for it – the airport fees, intrusions into privacy, and ridiculous waste of time.

Are you prepared to be an American Hero, as you so honor those soldiers that risk their lives for you?  Tell your family that should fate place you in a plane targeted by terrorists, your life is a small price to pay to show these insane people that life goes on without fear of death.  I’m not being flippant here, I ask every American to step up and be a local hero?  Say and internalize, “I’m prepared to be on the front lines, here in America, fighting terrorism as a citizen.”

Instead of real heroics I hear folks saying, “It’s better to fight terrorism over there in order to avoid fighting it here.”  I respectfully submit this is a false choice.  I’m likely to upset some folks here, but it has to be said, this is a coward’s choice.  How so?  Chosing this path, we stand-by as our neighbors’ kid stands in harms’ way while we dither and concern ourselves with our own skin.  In doing so we unwittingly fall prey to the terrorist as we collectively allow terror, fear of death, to overwhelm our daily lives.

I’m convinced that diligence is the right path.  On the occasions it fails we must remind each other that the human condition is hardly risk free.   There is little doubt that bad men will do bad things.  In these days we will have more than sufficient moral authority and resources to surgically act.  In the meantime, I fail to see how implementing a scorched earth policy or collectively placing our citizens in straight jackets does justice or saves us from ourselves.

 

It’s not about Money, it’s about Power!

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Wake up America! 

  • Power concentrated, whether by money or political favor, is suspect. 
  • Politicians with unchecked or long-term power are perverted. 
  • Money along with power is irrepressible. 
  • Politicians in pursuit of money aren’t representing you, they’re chasing ego. 

The so-called “Right” and “Left” are blowing smoke up your collective butts.  They’re Parties without distinction and selling us sound bites, not dreams or solutions.  Even more troubling is that the so-called independent Press has sold their souls and are hardly the omnipotent watchdog they purport to be.  It’s time we, the citizens, figured out how to put power back into the hands of all the people, all the time.

What to do?

  1. Give serious thought to voting in a manner that limits your Senator and Congressman to one term.
  2. Tell each of them in a very loud voice they are expected to make a difference, respectively, in the District of Columbia or State Capital in said timeframes.
  3. Demand their voting record be posted on their public website within 24-hours of recording, along with the entire legislative record for the bill including the final language and Intent of Congress declarations.
  4. Demand they refuse any and all gifts, gratuities, travel, social invitations and so on while on the government payroll.
  5. Demand that after their term in office they preclude themself from employment with any organization seeking to, actually writing, or influencing legislation during their term.
  6. Demand that their income tax filings during, five years before and five years after their term in office, be posted in a timely manner on their public website.
  7. Demand that their vote for “Leader” (in their respective hall of congress) never result in said leader working in said position for more than one term.

In short folks, we need to fix the foundation, before we rebuild the house.  Occupy the District of Columbia!

Smart Government, beats No Government

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… being smart beats being first to the heifer   

Several congruent points about mainstream socio-political thinking:

  • It’s not about no government; it’s about smart government!
  • It’s not about imprisoning business; it’s about partnering with responsible business!
  • It’s not about fencing-off the environment; it’s about maintaining sustainable eco-systems!

While I’m a first-order eco nut with a 40-plus year passion, I find punitive legislation as a substitute for joint development legislation a systemic failure.  Running the “dirty dogs” out of town without consideration as to the economic and social malaise left behind hurts us all, including the environment.  Rather than the current American pathology, we need a NASA-class development partnership with American businesses using American labor.

The irony of our past efforts is that the world eco-system is not necessarily the better.  For example, we close plants here and then import equally injurious products from Countries that simply don’t give a crap.  We sell inefficient plants to foreigners who then reassemble these, run without regulation, and then sell their products back to the US at higher costs.  All the while these out-of-reach enterprises are polluting the globe every bit as much as, or more than, when those plants were here.

It’s far better we first co-invent, co-own new state-of-the-art eco-friendly manufacturing technologies and plants.  At that point we decommission and destroy the older American plants, not sell them off to third-world Nations.  America’s greatest scientists are quite capable of inventing clean manufacturing of steel and copper, clean room technology for furniture finishing, zero tolerance oil well and propane gas drilling rigs, and so on.

Finally, our laws ought to require products produced using American patents be manufactured in America.

 

Tea Party: Libertarian or Social Conservative?

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not a Tea Party member and not proselytizing,  just trying to understand the landscape

The Tea Party movement seems like a fairly amorphous thing.  Most of the grass-roots people I know who profess a comfort level with the Tea Party movement I would describe as Libertarians and not classic Social Conservatives.  These folks seem to be arguing that the two-party system forces them into the Republican Party because it is the only place they seem to have a voice or chance to govern.

Why then is the Republican Party associating with the Tea Party movement and/or membership?  It feels like an odd coupling to me because the power base of the Republican Party, particularly since Reagan, has been driven by social conservatives who tend to use government to push their social agenda.  As such, their core political philosophy clearly runs afoul of the Libertarian view, which is live and let live and keep the government out of my life while I’m doing it.

So, the question of the day is, are most Tea Party members driven principally by the Libertarian or Social-Religious Conservative mindset?  The answer is bound to make a huge difference in the longevity of this movement.  Yes, I’m more than suggesting that those today who frame the Tea Party Movement as strictly a re-engaged and exclusively Conservative Republican effort to “regain control” of the GOP fail to understand the fire in the belly of the Libertarians.  I’m convinced the latter are pushing to take the Republican brand to a very different place.

How so?  I have very strong suspicions that most folks in the Tea Party movement are arguing the Federal government has one job – to protect our Country against foreign invaders and that doesn’t include sending troops and money to other Countries.  They would have almost no tax dollars going to the federal government other than for a much smaller military.  Sure, there would be other world-centric reasons to send money to the District of Columbia, but not many and not much.  The States would be responsible for all other governance. In this case, these folks would not be seeking Federal relief or assistance on much of anything.  How so?  Simply put, tax dollars now collected at the Federal level would be necessarily collected by, and made available at the State level.

It is a different paradigm these Tea Party members present and arguing from a once current paradigm, one that places odd bed fellows together in sync with each other, only means you would be failing to understand the revolution.  My sense is that the age-old Libertarian minority is seizing the moment.

 

Bill of Rights – Constitution of the United States of America

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… well worth reading in total and asking does popular shorten text do us right or misinform a lazy public.

1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

2. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

3. No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

4. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

5. No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

6. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

7. In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

8. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

9. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

10. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

 

I’ll Be Here Tomorrow

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Courage isn’t a desperate growl;
rather the gritty mantra “I’ll be here tomorrow!”

Yes my friend, it is courage you have, and
courage you inspire.

Better days are coming!

[William Anton Lee, I’ll Be Here Tommorrow,©2011]
Oct 16, 2011

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Note:  My friend James Vetham inspires me each and every day.  While he is not alone in the daily challenge to keep head held high, it is his recent endeavors that motivated me to write this.  It is he that inspired me to stop and think about courage.  Specifically, about the courage it takes to face days where little changes for the better and in these days to feel the road is just slightly harder to climb than yesterday.  Only courage explains the grit it takes to climb that hill day-in and day-out.  James is a courageous soul and in the company of many such souls who share a common challenge called Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome.

Jefferson Pushes Imancipation of Slaves Prior To US Constitution

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I’m reading Thomas Jefferson’s Memoirs for no other reason than I have always liked what I heard of him.  So why not read him in his own words, although reading 18th Century English is surely a challenge.

I’m thinking for now that writing in a “stream of consciousness” manner is best to get this project moving.  It will be interesting, to say the least, to see how much of my earlier thoughts change as we get deeper into Jefferson’s memoirs and related writings.

So, very early on, like within the first ten pages or so, Jefferson expresses sympathies against the institution of slavery.  So much so that one of his first attempts at legislation was the emancipation of slaves.  This effort came when he was a legislator in the colonies under British rule. 

Jefferson states, “In 1769, I became a member of the legislature by the choice of the county in which I live, and so continued until it was closed by the Revolution.  I made one effort in that body for the permission of the emancipation of slaves, which was rejected: and indeed, during the regal government, nothing liberal cold expect success (The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Memoirs, Correspondence, and Miscellanies, from the Papers of Thomas Jefferson, by Thomas Jefferson).”

I’m wondering at this point how these early sympathies comport with future opportunities to end slavery and his contribution to the debate during the writing of the US Constitution.  Of even more interest is how these sympathies hold up considering his treatment of the slaves his family owned, particularly those who tended the land he inherited from his father.

Reading on, as time permits.